Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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MELCHER, Joseph, R. C. bishop, born in Vienna, Austria., in 1807 ; died at Green Bay, Wisconsin, 20 December, 1873. He received his preparatory education in Vienna, and then entered the ecclesiastical college of Modena, where he studied philosophy and theology, and obtained the degree of D. D. at the end of his course. He was ordained priest in 1830, and immediately afterward was appointed chaplain to the Austrian court. Meeting Bishop Rosati, of St. Louis, who was visiting the Austrian capital in search of priests for his mission, he determined to give effect to a long-felt desire of laboring in the United States. On his arrival in 1843, he started immediately for Arkansas, and was appointed to a pastorate in Little Rock. In 1844 he went to St. Louis, where he was vicar-general for several years, and was assigned to St. Mary's church, where he spent the rest of his missionary life. The diocese of Green Bay, comprising the part of the state of Wisconsin which is situated north of Fox and Manitowoc rivers and east of Wisconsin river, was created in 1868, and Dr. Melcher was consecrated its first bishop on 12 July of that year. He at once set about the task of organizing his see, and his successful administration was shown in the fact that at his death it contained sixty-five churches and chapels, and a Catholic population of 60,000 ministered to by fifty-six priests.
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